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Political Science or International Relations?

Which should I major in? I am interested in working in foreign policy, but I'm not sure which is the better major to pursue for this. Should I go with the less specific Political Science, so I have a safety net if I don't like foreign policy? Or should I go more specific and really specialize on my preferred topic?? #majors #college-major #political-science #international-affairs #international-relations


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Michelle’s Answer

Hello Emma! Both Political Science and International Relations as a whole are pretty broad. You can go both ways and still be involved in foreign policy. Even foreign policy by itself is very broad so I first suggest to focus on what you are truly interested in. I remember taking several classes on American and Foreign policies and it is what the title suggests, it is just policies. I furthered my research by focusing on policies that are effecting a certain country. I am not saying you should do the same, but it is something to think about. In my case, the four year university I got in did not have a international relations program so I took political science. I realized that it was not enough for me and I wanted more so I got my Master's in International Studies. I think first you need to figure out whether you REALLY like foreign policy or not and also figure out if you REALLY want to get into political science. You will be investing time and money to pursue your degree so make sure your decision is legit. Once you figure that out how about you look into your desired university program and see what classes they are offering. If you see stuff you like then you can go from there. If not then talk to that university's adviser and see if they can help you. Good Luck!

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Karan’s Answer

Hi Emma,

International Studies/Relations/Affairs is a really broad field of study, and there are often multiple majors or concentrations under International Studies/Relations. For example, at my school, there are 8 majors under International Studies ranging from International History to Science, Technology, and International Affairs.

Not all schools offer these sub-majors or concentrations for international studies, but international affairs as a major requires you to study a variety of subjects. You will be studying foreign languages, regional histories, economics, and political science as a part of your core requirements. If you want to work for the Department of State and travel the world, having the broader education that International Studies provides is much more useful than Political Science.

After your first few years going through basic core requirements in International Studies, you get to specialize in your preferred topic; this could be technology and policy, or it could be international law. Regardless of what it is, you don't have to go into a foreign policy job with an International Affairs degree. Plenty of my peers have entered jobs in consulting, finance, non-profits, law, and economics. You can also minor in subjects you're interested in. Bottom line: International Affairs is the better major to enter foreign policy.

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